Oregon's first shipment of rapid COVID-19 tests are being shipped to three rural hospitals.
Gov. Kate Brown said Thursday, April 9, that the state's first Abbott ID NOW rapid testing kits to hospitals in Curry, Morrow and Lake counties. The kits will go to Curry General Hospital, Pioneer Memorial Hospital and Lake District Hospital.
The tests can return results in several minutes. The three hospitals will begin testing this week. The rapid tests will not be immediately available to the public, state officials said.
"Expanding rapid testing in Oregon is key to ensuring we have the capacity to track and contain new cases, keep Oregonians healthy and safe, and prevent future outbreaks," Brown said. "Rather than taking hours or days to return a test result, these instruments are capable of returning positive or negative test results in minutes. This capability is especially crucial in our more remote communities, where rapid testing will help minimize the amount of travel needed for trips to the doctor's office."
"I want to be very clear: the number of testing kits we have received from the federal government for these new machines does not even come close to approaching the need we have in Oregon right now." — Gov. Kate Brown
The federal Department of Health and Human Services sent Oregon 15 testing machines. It was the same number of machines sent to other states. The kits came with a supply of testing kits and materials.
"I want to be very clear: the number of testing kits we have received from the federal government for these new machines does not even come close to approaching the need we have in Oregon right now," Brown said.
State officials said Oregon received 15 Abbott ID NOW kits. The federal government shipped only five boxes of testing kits with the machines, with 24 tests in each box. Until more Abbott test kits are secured, additional rapid testing machines cannot be distributed to priority areas, they said.
Because of the limited supplies, state health officials said they would distribute the kits to areas of the state with no access to COVID-19 testing, places with a limited number of first responders, areas where courier services for state public health lab and commercial labs are limited or unavailable, places with a high population of older adults and other at-risk groups, and places where hospitals or clinics do not already have access to an Abbott ID NOW machine.
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